Bluebird Links & Cliff Lee, A Baseball Anamoly?

Yesterday, after hearing the stunning news of Cliff Lee signing with the Phillies, I got thinking about how many teams he's played for since the start of the 2009 season.  Four teams in 2 seasons, and soon to be a fifth, seems to be a lot for a player of his calibre. (Note, I'm counting the Phillies twice since they're two distinct time frames)


Over the last 6 years, Lee has accumulated 27.5 fWAR and has been steadily good other than his injury shortened 2007.  Using fangraphs WAR data from 1980 onward, I grouped together every pitcher that has pitched 6 years at 27.5 WAR or greater over that timeframe.  Obviously many players are on this list multiple times, so I counted them multiple times.  Then I figured out how many teams those players played for over that time span.

Some fun graphs (okay, so my graphing skills are limited) and lots of links after the jump.

 6_yr_window_pitcher_war_medium

 Interesting stuff I thought.  Lee is one of seven pitchers to have pitched for four or more teams over a six year span of greater than 27.5 fWAR.  Providing he keeps up with that pace for next year he'll be one of four pitchers to have pitched for 5 teams.  Interestingly enough, two of the 5 team pitchers pitched for the Jays.  David Cone pitched for the Mets and Jays in 93, KC in 94, and for the Jays and Yankees in 95.  David Wells pitched for the Tigers, Reds, Orioles, Yankees and Jays in a 6 year span of very good baseball.

The problem with the 6 year, >27.5 fWAR graph, is that it includes a lot of good, but not great pitchers.  Guys like Javier Vazquez get included because of their consistent play and I wanted to look at more elite type pitchers.  Over the last 3 years, Lee has accumulated 20.9 fWAR, so the graph below shows all pitchers that have accumulated >20 fWAR over a 3 year window.

 3_yr_window_pitcher_war_medium

In conclusion, pitchers of Lee's caliber just don't change teams as much as he has.  30 years of data, and he's the only pitcher fitting the above criteria has played for 4 teams in a 3 year span.

Jays Links

The Southpaw: My New Obsession
The Southpaw is liking Baltimore Oriole's reliever, Mike Gonzalez. Think he could be had for cheap?

Top 50 Blue Jays Prospects, Jays Journal Edition: #49 John Tolisano | Jays Journal
Mat Germain and Jared Macdonald are putting together a Top 50 prospect list that is jam packed with information. Everything you ever wanted to know about each prospect, and probably a whole lot more. Number 50 is here.

We Have Mail! Check out our new C's Inbox! | Vancouver Canadians News
The Vancouver Canadians have a mailbag...with some random questions about Chef Wasabi, a Sushi Race, and dancing ground keepers. Sounds like a fun place to catch a game.

Lyle Overbay, Jeremy Accardo, Kevin Gregg, and others | Jays Journal
Mat Germain breaks down yesterday's (ex) Jay's news. A couple of interesting tidbits here regarding the Baseball America prospect ranking of Johermyn Chavez (7th) and Michael Taylor (10th) for their new teams.

Around the League

National Post | Votto a Standout in a Year Full of Them
Canadian content. Votto wins the Lou Marsh award (Best Canadian athlete). A breakdown of his season and a quick look at the other candidates. I think I would have given the award to Jonathon Toews (who won the best forward award for the olympic gold, and the Conn Smythe trophy for Stanley Cup MVP). Votto is certainly deserving though.

Gallery | Photos | Multimedia | National Post
For something a little different, the National Post has 40 fantastic photos from the world of sports this year. Good stuff.

Marcum slots into middle of Brewers rotation
Some Marcum talk from the Brewers side of things.

Overbay Signs With Pirates | Blog Archive | Getting Blanked | Blogs | TheScore.com
Dustin Parkes is bloggin about Overbay.

Orioles Set To Play Accardo-ian | Blog Archive | Getting Blanked | Blogs | TheScore.com
And about Accardo.

Former Jay Matt Stairs agrees to terms with Washington Nationals - thestar.com
Canadian Matt Stairs, who turns 43 in February, has agreed to a non-guaranteed, minor-league contract with the Washington Nationals.

Ghostrunner on First: Contrast & Compare
Breaks down the difference between FanGraphs WAR and BaseballReference WAR for pitchers.  A look at hitters here.

Baseball great Jenkins gets his own stamp - The Globe and Mail
More Canadian content. Fergie Jenkins gets his own stamp to commemorate Black History Month in Febuary.

The 5th starter: A Toronto Blue Jays Blog: The (Brief) HIstory of $100 Million Contracts
A good breakdown by The 5th Starter.

Joe Posnanski " Posts Great Four-Man Rotations (w/Bill James) "
Joe Posnanski takes a look at the best pitching rotations with the help of Bill James. Long winded but worth a read.

Reds, Bruce agree on $51M extension
The Reds keep give out more money.

Starting Pitcher DL Projections (Part 2 of 2) | FanGraphs Baseball
Jeff Zimmermanattempts to project which starting pitchers will end up on the DL next year.  Part I Here.

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